Pot-au-Feu

Le Cirque, New York City, Daniel Boulud - January/February 1990

Note: Boulud’s pot-au-feu is a combination of poached dark meats, light meats, and vegetables. The dish is prepared in three different stockpots simultaneously, then assembled and carved in a singular presentation.

Pot #1 (dark meats):

  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • 1/2 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1/4 green part of 1 leek
  • 5 cloves
  • 10 coriander seeds
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 2 small beef shanks
  • 7 lbs. thick beef short ribs
  • 8 med. carrots, peeled
  • 5 leeks, split, washed, and tied in a bunch (green inside)
  • 2 celery roots, peeled and cut into 4 wedges
  • 6 sm. onions, peeled
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 savoy cabbage (discard dark green leaves, split, and tie remainder with string)
  • 2 fennel bulbs, cut into 4 wedges
  • 8 mushrooms (shiitake, pleurotte, or Paris)
  • 5 red bliss potatoes
  • 4 sm. turnips, peeled
  • 1 5-lb. beef tenderloin
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  1. Wrap bay leaves, parsley, thyme, and leek in cheesecloth; secure with twine; place in a stockpot.

  2. Wrap cloves, coriander seeds, peppercorns, and fennel seeds in cheesecloth; secure with twine; place in the stockpot; add beef shanks and cold water to cover by 2"; set over medium heat for 1 hour.

  3. Add short ribs, carrots, leeks, celery roots, onions, garlic; cook simmer 1 hour.

  4. Add cabbage, fennel, mushrooms, potatoes, and turnips; simmer 30 minutes.

  5. Add beef tenderloin; simmer 30 minutes; remove from heat; reserve (keep warm).

Pot #2 (light meats):

  • 2 bay leaves 1/2 bunch parsley
  • 1/2 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1/4 green part of 1 leek
  • 5 cloves
  • 10 coriander seeds
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 4 veal shanks
  • 8 med. carrots, peeled
  • 5 leeks, split, washed, and tied in a bunch (green inside)
  • 2 celery roots, peeled and cut into 4 wedges
  • 6 sm. onions, peeled
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 6-lb. capon (1 truffle, sliced and slipped under skin)
  • 1 savoy cabbage (discard dark green leaves, split, and tie remainder with string)
  • 2 fennel bulbs, cut into 4 wedges
  • 8 mushrooms (shiitake, pleurotte, or Paris)
  • 5 red bliss potatoes
  • 4 sm. turnips, peeled
  • 4 rabbit saddles with kidneys
  • 2 whole fresh duck foie gras
  • salt
  1. Wrap bay leaves, parsley, thyme, and leek in cheesecloth; secure with twine; place in a stockpot.

  2. Wrap cloves, coriander seeds, peppercorns, and fennel seeds in cheesecloth; secure with twine; place in the stockpot.

  3. Add veal shank, carrots, leeks, celery roots, onion, garlic, and enough cold water to cover by 2"; set over medium heat; simmer 1 hour.

  4. Add capon, cabbage, fennel, mushrooms, potatoes, and turnips; simmer 30 minutes.

  5. Add rabbit saddles; simmer 15 minutes.

  6. Add foie gras; simmer 15 minutes; remove from heat; reserve (keep warm).

Assembly (green vegetables and marrow bones):

  • 3 qts. stock taken equally from pots #1 and #2
  • 15 asparagus tips, cut 3" long
  • 3 zucchini, channeled and cut into 2" sections
  • 1 cup fava beans, shelled and peeled
  • 20 beef marrow bones, cut into 2" sections
  • fresh herbs (for garnish)
  1. Bring stock to a boil in large pot; add asparagus; cook 5 minutes; remove from the pot; reserve (keep warm).

  2. Add zucchini; cook 10 minutes; remove from the pot; reserve (keep warm).

  3. Add fava beans; cook 5 minutes; remove from the pot; reserve (keep warm).

  4. Reduce heat to low; add marrow bones; simmer 20 minutes; remove from the pot; reserve (keep warm).

  5. To serve, carve meats; place on very large platter; arrange vegetables around; garnish platter with fresh herbs; accompany with toasted country bread, mustards, and condiments—coarse salt, fresh black pepper, shallot oil, cornichons, pickled pearl onions, horseradish, and/or mixed spices.